As reported by The Telegraph on August 23rd 2015, a young mother (not pictured above) in the UK died from cervical cancer after being classed as too young for a smear test which could have saved her life.
Rachel Sarjantson, 24, battled the disease for a year before her death, which her family has described as “completely avoidable”.
The legal age for a smear test is 25, and despite her being called early for the test, it was too late as the aggressive cancer had already taken over her body.
In Australia The National Cervical Screening Program currently recommends all women aged between 18 and 70 who have ever been sexually active have regular Pap tests. However, there will be changes as at 1 May 2017 and the renewed National Cervical Screening Program will invite women aged 25 to 74 years, both HPV vaccinated and unvaccinated, to undertake an HPV test every 5 years.Please refer to the below.
Upcoming changes to the program
The Australian Government has now accepted the evidence based recommendations of the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) that a primary human papillomavirus (HP) test should replace the current Pap test for cervical screening. This will ensure Australian women will have access to a cervical screening program that is safe, effective, efficient and based on current evidence.
The renewed National Cervical Screening Program will commence on 1 May 2017 when the HPV screening test will become available on the Medicare Benefits Schedule and the National Cancer Screening Register will be in place to support the renewed clinical pathway. More on these future changes can be found at The National Cervical Screening Program.